Sasha Christian, 17, is the only Singaporean athlete in the Red Bull stable of 520 sponsored athletes. (Photo 1 © Mark Teo/Red Bull Photofiles)
Singapore, Friday, October 22, 2010 — Singapore’s number 1 ranked female wakeboarder Sasha Christian has become the latest branded athlete in Red Bull’s stable, joining the likes of international stars like Formula One drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, X Games champions Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn and Travis Pastrana, Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
Just 17 years of age, the Singapore Sports School student becomes the first local athlete to be supported by energy drink Red Bull. In fact, Sasha is only Red Bull’s second athlete in the whole Asia Pacific region, outside of Australia and New Zealand, after Hong Kong BMX rider Steven Wong’s announcement earlier this year.
Red Bull boasts of a stable of more than 520 athletes around the world, having long been a loyal supporter of top-tier, professional athletes in national and international disciplines, such as NASCAR, Formula One, MotoGP, Dakar Rally, World Rally Championship (WRC), as well as various action and adventure sports. But Sasha will become only its 47th female athlete.
The latest addition to the Red Bull world got a taste of what it is like being a Red Bull athlete earlier in September during the Singapore Grand Prix, when she was given an exclusive tour of the Red Bull Racing garage by none other than Webber himself. She also met fellow Red Bull athletes – French trial biker Julien Dupont and freestyle footballer Sean Garnier – in the F1 paddocks.
Having burst onto the scene as a prodigious 11-year-old in 2004, Sasha’s meteoric rise to become Asia’s top female wakeboarder has been nothing short of phenomenal. She quickly established herself as Singapore’s undisputed number 1 female wakeboarder and made waves in several world class competitions despite her youth, eventually culminating in her winning the Asian Wakeboard Championship title in Chuncheon, South Korea last year at the age of just 16.
Sasha becomes the 10th wakeboarder in Red Bull’s stable of athletes, following in the footsteps of her idol Dallas Friday of USA, one of the top female wakeboarders in the world.
Citing Friday as her source of inspiration, Sasha said: “The tricks that Dallas pulls off are totally amazing! With help from Red Bull, that is the level I hope to achieve some day as well.
“Although I’ve only had a glimpse into the Red Bull world so far, but from what I can see, this is going to be a pretty amazing partnership. They bring a lot to the table – everything from cool experiences to performance coaching and more. So I’m looking forward to Red Bull giving me my wiiings!”
Added her coach Paul Fong, who is also the President of the Asia Oceania Waterski & Wakeboard Confederation and an active certified judge in many prestigious events such as the Wakeboard World Championships and Wakeboard World Cup Series: “The lack of local competition has forced Sasha to go overseas for competition experience and maintain her competitive edge. But as wakeboarding is not a sport included in the major multi-sporting games, Sasha often had to fund these overseas trips on her own.
“This partnership deal by Red Bull will definitely come in handy to help cover some of these costs. But more importantly, the fact that a global brand like Red Bull is willing to support a local wakeboarder shows that you don’t need to be in one of the so-called core sports to attract sponsors.
“The thing about being a Red Bull athlete is not just about the monetary incentives, but also the resources which the company makes available for its athletes to promote them and help them make the step up to the next level of their sport. There are not many brands out there that can do that.”
As part of the deal, Red Bull Singapore will be sending Sasha on a week-long trip to its Diagnostic and Training Centre (DTC) in Thalgau near Red Bull’s global headquarters in Fuschl am See, Austria in early 2011. There, she will have access to a team of trainers, physiotherapists and psychologists, as well as facilities which can hopefully help to raise her sporting performance to a new level.
There are also plans in the near future for Sasha to train with fellow Red Bull athlete Friday in Florida, USA, where many of the world’s top riders reside.
Sasha will next be in action during the upcoming inaugural METTLE GAMES (29 Oct – 7
Nov), an action sports extravaganza, where she will feature in both wakeboard and cable wakeboard competitions.
Saturday, October 30, 2010 — Women’s Open Qualification
Sunday, October 31, 2010 — Women’s Open Finals
Saturday, November 6, 2010 – Women’s Open Semi-Finals
Sunday, November 7, 2010 – Women’s Open Final
Sasha Christian (date of birth: 4 March 1993)
– Asian Wakeboard Championships 2009, Korea 1st
– World Wakeboard Championships 2007, Doha, 3rd
– Wakeboard World Cup Singapore 2007, 6th
– Reef Wakefest Hong Kong 2006, 1st
– Reef Wakefest Singapore 2006, 1st
– Asian Wakeboard Championships, Australia, 2006, 2nd
– Asian Wakeboarding Championships, China 2004, 3rd
– Singapore National Wakeboard Championships 2004-2008, 1st
– 2005 Singapore Sports Council Breakthrough Award
– 2004 Singapore Street Style Awards, Sports Section
Sasha Christian is shown around the Red Bull garage by Mark Webber (right) in the lead up to the Singapore Grand Prix. (Photo 2 © Mark Thompson/Red Bull Racing/Getty Images)
Sasha Christian in action during a media session earlier this week at Bedok Reservoir. (Photo 3 © Mark Teo/Red Bull Photofiles)